At long last, 11-member Pacific trade deal takes effect
Japan Times -- Dec 30
The 11-member Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact entered into force on Sunday, creating a free trade area covering more than a tenth of the global economy.

The trade deal, signed in March, will cut tariffs on agriculture and industrial products, ease investment restrictions and enhance protection of intellectual property.

The 11 countries hope that the CPTPP will serve as a counter to growing protectionism as China and the United States engage in a trade war.

The U.S. had been a member of the original pact but Washington withdrew just days into the administration of President Donald Trump.

Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and Singapore became the first six members to ratify the pact, setting the stage for its entry into force.

Vietnam is expected to complete its domestic procedures in January.

The CPTPP accounts for 13 percent of the world’s gross domestic product and provides access to an economic bloc of 500 million people.

The participating nations will scrap tariffs on most products.

Japan, for its part, will eliminate import duties on 95 percent of items, with some key sectors such as rice and beef continuing to receive a certain level of protection.

Still, consumers will be able to buy imported beef and other food items at much cheaper prices while manufacturers can boost exports with the elimination of tariffs.

Automakers, for example, will see Canada reducing its 6.1 percent tariff on imported passenger cars to zero in five years.

まもなく日本とオーストラリア、カナダなど11カ国によるTPP(環太平洋経済連携協定)11が発効します。輸入する食品の関税が下がるほか、日本が輸出する工業品も増えると期待されています。
News sources: Japan Times, ANNnewsCH
Jun 15
Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested a 48-year-old man over the alleged abduction of a high school he met online, a crime he committed in order for them both to commit suicide, reports TBS News (June 13). (tokyoreporter.com)
Jun 15
Iran's supreme leader told Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday that it was pointless to reply to a message he had brought to Tehran from U.S. President Donald Trump, as a peacemaking visit was overshadowed by attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman. (Japan Today)
Jun 14
A record 3,129 people were stranded on Japanese mountains last year amid a continued boom in activities such as climbing and walking, a police report revealed Thursday. (Japan Today)
Jun 14
Japan leads the world in paid leave set aside for fathers, but few take advantage of it, according to a new report by the U.N. Children's Fund based on legal entitlements from 2016. (Japan Today)
Jun 14
A 23-year-old male university student was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of killing a doctor at her apartment in Higashine, Yamagata Prefecture, last month, local police said. (Japan Times)
Jun 14
Toyama Prefectural Police have arrested a 52-year-old living in Toyama City who has confessed to killing up to 100 pet cats, reports the Sankei Shimbun (June 13). (tokyoreporter.com)
Jun 13
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called on Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday to avoid a further escalation of tensions and an unintended military conflict in the Middle East, as he sought to nudge Tehran toward dialogue as a mediator with the United States. (Kyodo)
Jun 13
The Diet on Wednesday passed a bill requiring dog and cat breeders to microchip animals, and owners to voluntarily do the same to their pets, in a bid to reduce the number of strays. (Japan Times)
Jun 13
A public uproar has forced the government to retract a controversial report claiming that retired couples reliant on public pensions also need sizable savings, but this backpedaling could further delay Japan's much needed reckoning with the overburdened program. (Nikkei)
Jun 12
Japan's westernmost point has moved further west by about 110 meters, after it was decided to include an ocean rock on official maps. (NHK)